Transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi is said to be working towards nominating a managing director for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. The next managing director of the commission is expected to come from Rivers State.
Amaechi who has an ambition to contest for the presidential seat in Nigeria in 2023, is said to be eyeing the presidential seat if his party, the APC, zones the office to the south-south. But if it is zoned to the north, he hopes to be picked as running mate.
The minister, a former governor of Rivers State, failed to produce a single elected political office holder from his home state during the 2019 general election largely because of his leadership role in the state chapter of the party.
Till date, the APC in Rivers has not known real peace. His former political associate, Senator Magnus Abe is still unhappy with him over his style of leadership, especially as he is opposed to Amaechi’s idea of zoning of the governorship seat to the riverine part of the state.
Amaechi is believed to have nominated some top officials into the NDDC at various times, including the once time interim administrator, Ibim Seminatari and a one time managing director, Prof Nelson Brambaifa.
Some two weeks ago, when President Muhammadu Buhari was in London on medical tourism, Amaechi was said to have taken Mr David Lyon to the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as his preferred choice for the position of MD, as the clamour increases for the constitution of a board for the NDDC.
It was not clear as at press time, if Amaechi is still pushing for the candidacy of Lyon, but it was learn that the vice president did give the minister any satisfactory response on the request.
Some chieftains of the APC in Bayelsa State are not happy that Amaechi is making efforts to nominate someone from their state for the office.
It will not be the first time that the APC members will be going against Amaechi over similar issues. He had been accused some years ago, of trying to replace names of people nominated for appointment into the NDDC from Bayelsa.
The party members led by current member representing Nembe/Brass Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Israel Sunny-Goli, who was a member fo the state assembly at the time, were angry that Amaechi was trying to short-change them.
“The party was shocked when its nominee, who had been agreed on by all stakeholders, could not make the final list because (allegedly) Amaechi had claimed that Buhari directed him to nominate the state representatives from the Niger Delta States based on his position as the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation.
“If the nomination is not reversed, it means that other senatorial districts that campaigned against the Jonathan government for the enthronement of the change government have been excluded with grave implications for party cohesion.”
“Amaechi should confine himself to Rivers state and leave other South- South states alone.”
He said, “APC members still believe in the ideology of the Buhari government and would want him to reverse the nomination to assuage the ill feelings some members have towards the Federal Government,” the APC members had written in their protest letter to Buhari.
When TNN reached Mr Christopher Achinike through the advertised phone contact of the Amaechi Media Team on facebook, he said he was not in the mood to discuss the matter. When his attention was drawn to an allegation against the minister’s wife concerning a contract awarded to her NGO by the NDDC which was under investigation, the media aide said he would not discuss the matter, and then cut the call.